The Story of a Good Man and a Jealous Man – Alif Laila
In a city the houses of two men were adjacent to each other. One of the neighbors had jealousy and hatred towards the other. Even though the mind thought that I should leave the house and settle somewhere because I do favor to this man and he is kept hostile to me. So he bought a nice house in another town situated some distance away from there and settled there which also had a blind well. He also put on the cloak of mystics and started spending time day and night in the hymns of God. He got many rooms built in his house in which he used to provide food to the sages and saints. Due to this he became very famous in the city and people started coming to meet him.
His fame soon increased. People from far and wide would come and request him to pray to God for the fulfillment of their wishes. The fame of his miracles also reached the city where he used to live earlier. Hearing this his old neighbor became even more jealous. He decided to go to his house and kill him. He went and met her at his house. The saintly man prayed a lot to his old neighbor. The envious person told the lie that a calamity has fallen upon me, for which I have come to pray to you, but I want to keep this difficulty a secret and tell my disciples and other sages that when I and you While talking, no other person should even come near. Saint Purush gave the same order.
Now that evil man made a long story of a lie and started telling it to the saint. Then he said that we should finish listening to this story while walking. The saint accepted that too. While talking, when they came near the well, the evil man suddenly pushed the saint into the well and himself secretly ran away from the house. He was very happy in his life that this man whose fame has kept me burning is over.
But the fate of that saint was good. Fairies lived in that well, who when it fell, lifted it by hand and made it sit comfortably in a place. He was not hurt but the fairies remained out of sight. That saintly man started thinking that there must be some grace of God in bringing me in this condition. After a while he started hearing voices like two men talking to each other. One said, ‘You know who this man is?’ The other said, ‘I don’t know.’ The first said, ‘ I’ll tell you about it. He is a very polite and courteous person. He left his city and started living here so that he would not have to mess with his neighbor there who was jealous of it. Due to the mercy of God in this city, its fame increased greatly. Due to this fame, its old neighbor got burnt even more and he decided to kill it. He came to his house and brought it here on the pretext and dropped it in the well. If we didn’t help it, it would have died.
The first said, ‘What will happen to it now?’ The other said, ‘All will be well. Tomorrow the king of this city will come to it and request it to pray to God for the health of that emperor’s daughter.’ The first said, ‘What is the disease of the princess?’ The other said, ‘The princess is dimly attached to the son of a genie named Maimoon, and the same is carried on her head, so that the princess is always sick and distraught. The way to remove it is very simple. There is a black cat in the house of this saint who has a white part near the root of the tail. This saint should uproot seven hairs from that white part and keep it with him. When the princess is brought near it, she should burn her hair in the fire and send their smoke into the nose of the princess. By this she will be cured and in future also the dim-witted will never fall near her.
The saintly man remembered the fairies and their companions well after listening to this conversation. He stayed in the well all night. When it got light in the morning, he saw that the wall of the well was covered with masks from top to bottom. He came upstairs in a short time with their help. His disciples and devotees who had been searching for him throughout the night were extremely pleased to see him. He told them that I had accidentally fallen into the well but I was not hurt.
Then he came to his house and sat down. In no time, the black cat roamed around and came out from him. The saintly man remembered the things he heard in the well. So he grabbed the cat and pulled out seven hairs from the white part of its skin and kept it with him. After some time the king of the city came there. He left his troops outside and came inside the house with some of the chieftains. The saintly man welcomed him respectfully.
The king said, ‘O Yogiraj, you know the condition of everyone’s hearts. You must have understood why I have come here.’ The saint said, ‘Perhaps your daughter is unwell and with the hope of her recovery, you have sanctified my Akinchan’s hut.’ The king said, ‘You are absolutely right, that is why I have come here. If by your blessings my daughter gets well, then my biggest worry will go away.
The saint replied, ‘You bring your daughter here. I will pray to God that he gets well and hope my prayer will be accepted. The king was very pleased to hear this. On his orders, the princess was brought there along with her maids. The princess’s face was well covered with a sheet so that no one could see her. The saint raised such a part of the sheet from below that the smoke rising from the fireplace kept below does not come out. Then he put seven hairs in the fireplace. When the smoke was about to reach the princess’s nose, Dimdim, the son of Mammoon the jinn, cried out loud and immediately ran away.
The princess came to her senses as soon as the genie left. She sat there calmly and hid herself well and started asking where I am and who has brought me here. The emperor did not flinch with happiness. He hugged his daughter and started kissing her eyes. Then he kissed the saint man’s hand respectfully and took advice from his members as to how to repay the favor of this saint man. The members unanimously said that the princess should be married to this saint. The emperor liked the advice of the councilors and married the princess to his benefactor.
A few days later, the king’s chief organ minister died and the emperor appointed his son-in-law in his place. After some time the emperor died and since the king had no other children other than that princess, his son-in-law became the official and new emperor with the consent of all the councilors and feudatories.
One day he was going somewhere with his chieftains when he saw his old enemy at a distance. The new king secretly told his minister to bring the man to me at ease so that he would not be frightened. The king said to him, ‘My friend, I am glad to see you after so many days, did you recognize me?’ The wicked began to tremble after recognizing him, but the emperor, being a saintly man, gave him a thousand asharfis and twenty knots of precious cloth and delivered him safely to his house.
After completing my story, I told the genie that that noble king had done this treatment to his known enemy and you do not show me any mercy at all. But my request had no effect on him. He said that I am not killing you, but I will not leave you without punishment, now see my magic game. Saying this he caught me and took me and flew so high in the sky that from there the earth looked like a piece of a cloud. Then in a moment he took me to the top of a high mountain. There he picked up a handful of soil and recited some mantra on it and saying ‘be a monkey’, sprinkled that soil on me and disappeared.
I was deeply saddened to find myself in the form of a monkey. I didn’t even know where I was and in which direction and how far my country was from there. Well, slowly I came down from the mountain and came to the field and there also I saw the whole region uninhabited. Speculation started walking on one side. At the end of a month I reached the beach. The sea was quite calm and at some distance from the shore a ship was anchored.
I thought it better to go on the ship. He broke two twigs from a tree on the shore and reached the floating ship with the help of them. With the help of the rope of the ship, I reached inside the ship.
The people in the ship were very surprised to see me that how the monkey got in the ship. They considered my arrival as bad omen and started talking about killing me. One said, now I bring a log and break its head. The other said, no, it will not die like this, I will kill them by leaving arrows now. The third advised me to drown in the sea. How do I tell them who I am, I started running here and there to save my life.
Finally, disappointed from all sides, he went to the captain of the ship and started returning to his feet. I grabbed his arm and started chirping with tears in his eyes as if I was begging him to save his life. He took pity on me and scolded my trespassers and gave a stern warning that no one should hurt this monkey and no one should tamper with it. He provided me with such security that I did not suffer on the ship. Although I could not speak, I understood everything and used to understand his words and indicate that he was very much entertained. Slowly all the people on the ship became kind to me and started loving me.
After a fifty-day voyage, the ship reached a major trading centre. It was a very big city. There were big houses in it. The seafarers held the ship in port. Within no time the big merchants of the city, seeing the ship, reached on it in the hope of trade. Many of his friends were merchants on the ship. These friends started talking to each other and listened to the condition of the journey because the ship had come from many countries.
Among the merchants of the city, there were many such who used to come and go to the court of the opulent emperor there. He said that our emperor is very happy that your ship has come here. The reason for this is that he hopes that there will be some calligrapher among you. The thing is that our minister has recently died. He was a very skilled calligrapher. The emperor has great respect for the virtuous and wants to get a calligrapher like that minister, he is always worried about this. That’s why he sent this paper on which lines have been drawn for calligraphy. The king wants that if any man among you is very educated, then he should write some article on it. He has vowed that he will give the post of a late minister to only one who can do calligraphy like him. And even after searching a lot till now, he has not found any such virtuous person in his country.
Hearing this, I grabbed the paper from the hand of the king’s chieftain. On this all the people of the ship, especially the educated merchants started shouting that this monkey will just tear this paper and throw it in the sea. But when they saw that I had held the paper in a big way, everyone started watching silently. I told the sign that I can write on it. What would those people have believed in my words and everyone started trying to hold me and take the paper from my hand.
But the captain of the ship stopped them and said, ‘We must test it. If it spoils the paper then I assure you that it will be punished severely. If he writes, I will keep it like my son. I know it will not spoil the paper. I often saw that it is not like other monkeys, but very intelligent.’ Everyone stopped at this point of the captain and I took a pen and wrote four lines of poetry in such a beautiful way that no merchant or other citizen could write.
Sardar took my written paper to the emperor. The emperor liked my calligraphy as well as my poetry. He told the chieftains to take a heavy khilat (garment of honor) and put on the man who wrote this and also take a fine horse from the horde and bring him here with respect. The Sardar laughed hearing this command. The emperor got very angry. He said sternly, ‘What is this insolence, you are not afraid of punishment?’ The Sardar said with folded hands, ‘Sir, I am sorry. This article was not written by any human. A monkey has written it.’
The king said, ‘What are you talking about? Where does the monkey also write?’ The Sardar looked at his companions. He also folded his hands and said, ‘Jahanpanah, we have all seen with our own eyes that a monkey has written on this paper.’ The king’s surprise increased and he ordered, ‘Have I seen such a monkey, I had not even heard it. You guys immediately go and get that monkey riding respectfully.’ So the Sardar and the royal servant again went to the ship and told the captain the command of the king. The captain happily agreed to send me. He dressed me in zari clothes and brought me to the shore. From there on horseback he went to the palace. Not only was the emperor waiting for me in the palace, but a large crowd of citizens had also come to see the calligraphic monkey.
There was a huge crowd on the way too and people were watching my ride even after peeping through the rooms and terraces. Everyone was surprised that the emperor has called a monkey to take over the ministerial position. Some people were laughing at this and were also making fun of the emperor.
When I reached the court, I saw that the emperor was sitting on the throne and the councilors and chieftains were standing in their respective places. I bowed three times as per court etiquette and stood stunned on one side. All the people present were surprised to see my behavior that how the monkey is doing such courtesy. The emperor himself was also very surprised to see my gait.
After some time the court was dismissed. Only me and one of his old officers were left with the emperor. We both went inside the palace with him on the orders of the emperor. The emperor asked for royal food and gestured for me to eat. I started eating food with great tact. When the meal was over and the utensils were picked up, I pointed to the pen. When the pen was brought to me, I composed some poetic lines thanking the emperor and wrote them beautifully on paper. The king was surprised and more pleased to see this. He got me a vessel filled with wine. After drinking it, I wrote another poem about the good fortune that comes after my misfortune.
Now the king called for chess and gestured and asked if you could play it. I accepted my hand on my head. Badshah won the first game and I won the second and third. The emperor got annoyed at this that he was defeated by a monkey. I then composed a poem and wrote it on paper which meant that two warriors fight with each other throughout the day and become friends in the evening and sleep on the battlefield at night.
This greatly increased the astonishment of the emperor. He thought that such a monkey, which displayed intelligence and wits more than human, had never been seen or heard. When he told this to his members, they supported him. Now the king wanted me to show his queen and his daughter also. He ordered the chief of the searches to remove the men and bring Begum Sahiba and the princess here. The Begum came simply, but seeing the face that the princess had opened, put on me the mask and said upset to the father that what has happened to you that in front of an unfamiliar man, he called me openly.
The king said, ‘Where are your senses? Who is the man here except me? And I am your father, you should come openly in front of me. And you yourself are at fault and blame me.’ The princess folded her hands and said, ‘Abba Huzoor, I am not at fault. He is the son of a great king and has reached this condition due to magic. The Dhruvate of Iblis, a mighty genie, first killed the daughter of Abu Timur, the king of the island of Ebony, and then made this prince a monkey with his magic.’
The emperor was surprised to hear this. He asked me if this was okay. Keeping my hand on my head, I gestured and said that whatever the princess has said is absolutely right. Now the emperor asked the princess that how did you know all this story. She said, ‘You will remember that when I was weaned, an old lady was hired to look after and nurture me. She was proficient in magic. He taught me the seventy parts of this knowledge. Now I have so much power that if I want, I can lift your whole country and throw it in the sea. Those who, by the force of magic, incarnate into a body other than a human being, I immediately recognize them and I also know by whose magic this has happened. That’s why I recognized it at first sight that it is not a monkey but a prince.’
The king said, ‘Daughter, you are so virtuous, I did not know that. But do you have the power to bring it back to your first body?’ The princess, whose name was Malika Hassan, said, ‘Surely I have such power.’ The king said, ‘If you do this, then I will be very grateful to you and will marry this prince with you by making this prince my minister.’
The princess, at the behest of her father, asked for a stick from her belongings, on which some letters were engraved in Hebrew and Egyptian languages. Then he told his father that you guys should sit at some distance safely. When we did this, the princess drew a large circle with a stick on the floor of the chamber and began to recite some hymns in the Hebrew and Egyptian languages. After this she went inside the circle and started reciting some verses of Quran Sharif.
In no time it became dark overcast. We knew as if the doomsday had arrived. We were getting scared moment by moment. In the meantime, we saw that the Devil’s genie came roaring in the form of a lion. The princess said, ‘Wicked, you should have come graciously to me when I called. Your courage that this form has come to scare me. The lion said, ‘There was an agreement between men and jinns not to interfere in each other’s affairs, you have broken that agreement.’ The princess said, ‘You have broken that agreement earlier.’ The lion roared and said that I enjoy this arrogance of yours, which you have done by giving me trouble to come here.
Saying this he teared his face and swung towards the princess. She was smart, jumped back and pulled a hair from her head and threw it away after chanting. The child became a sword and he cut the lion’s body into two pieces. But these pieces disappeared and only the head remained which became the scorpion. Now the princess took the form of a snake and fell on him.
The scorpion soon became frightened and flew into the sky. The princess also became an eagle and followed him. While flying, both hid from our sight.
In no time the land in front of us exploded and two cats came out fighting, one black and the other white. For some time, she kept screaming with her tail raised, then the black cat became a wolf and pounced on the white cat. Seeing no remedy, the white cat became a worm. And immediately climbed a tree and entered inside the pomegranate hanging in it. The pomegranate began to grow and grew into the size of a pitcher. Then he broke away from the tree and started waving here and there in the wind.
After some time, the pomegranate fell on the ground and burst and its pieces were scattered here and there. Hundreds of grains fell on the earth and spread. Now the wolf immediately became a rooster and began to pick up the scattered pomegranate seeds in a hurry. When he had eaten all the grains, he came to us and started shouting loudly as if asking if any grain remained. He himself started running here and there to see. A grain was lying on the bank of a canal. The rooster ran to eat it too but the grain fell into the canal while rolling.
After falling into the canal, the grain became a fish. The rooster also jumped into the canal behind him. For some time both of them remained out of sight, then there was a loud scream, due to which we were very scared. Then I saw both the genie and the princess become engulfed in flames and are throwing flames at each other as if fighting among themselves. It seemed that fire had spread everywhere. We trembled in fear that this fire would fry us and the whole country. Even worse came a time when the genie, leaving the battle with the princess, rushed towards us and started throwing flames at us. But the princess also came in a hurry. He drove the genie away and put us in a safer place. Still, the Khoja was burnt to ashes in such a long time, the king’s face was scorched and a spark fell in my right eye, which caused my eye to burst.
In the meantime, we heard a loud cry. The princess, Malika Hassan, returned to her normal body and the jinn appeared as a pile of ashes. Then the princess asked for water from a slave and after enticing it sprinkled it on me and said, ‘If you have become a monkey by the power of magic, then come back to your first body and become a human as before.’ As soon as he said this, I became like before. There was no harm to me except the bursting of the right eye. I wanted to thank the princess for this favor, but the princess did not give this opportunity. She turned to the emperor and said, ‘Though I have burnt the jinn, I will not be able to escape.’
When we did not understand anything, he told that this fire war is very terrible. Its fire will consume me in a few moments. When I became a rooster, if the last grain of pomegranate, in which the jinn had hidden himself, had reached inside me, then the jinn would have died immediately and no harm would have been done to me. But he survived and was able to fight with me again. Now being compelled, I had to go to the fire battle. The jinn understood that he was a master of magic and was heavy on him, yet he fought with his life till the end. I burnt it to ashes but I will not be able to free myself from this fire.’
The king stopped and said, ‘Daughter, what are you talking about? What would we do without you? Don’t you see that the Khoja is dead, my face is burnt and this prince whom you have so favored, has become ear to ear from the right eye?’ The king was beating his head like this and I was also crying when the princess started shouting, ‘Hi Jali, Hi Maari.’ And on seeing it, she too got burnt like a genie and became a heap of ashes.
The second fakir, shedding tears, said to Zubeida that, O beauty, the amount of pain I felt at that time is beyond description. I was thinking that even if I had become a monkey or a dog and remained like this for life, it would have been better that such a quality princess, who had so much favored me, lost her life like this. The emperor also cried so much in the grief of his daughter that he fainted. I began to fear that lest his life should be lost due to this grievous sorrow. There was an outcry all around and a holocaust-like scene appeared in the palace.
All the servants of the palace and the king’s chiefs came running and with all kinds of efforts brought him to his senses. I kept the whole story in front of everyone. Then the royal servants picked up the emperor and took him to his bedroom. This news spread all over the city and there was crying everywhere and nothing was heard except shouting. They mourned for the princess for seven days and performed all the rituals of mourning in her country. At last the heap of genie’s ashes was blown into the air. The ashes of the princess were buried in a valuable silk bag and a mausoleum was erected on it.
The emperor fell ill in the grief of the princess. He recovered in a month. Then he called me and said, ‘Prince, because of you I have been in unbearable pain. Because of you, my beloved daughter was burnt to ashes, my faithful leader of discoveries died by burning and I too survived my death. Your own fault is not there, so I do not punish you. But your arrival has been unfortunate and trouble will come wherever you are. That’s why I can’t allow you to stay here. You immediately darken your face from here. If you are seen here even for a while, I will not be able to take care of myself and will punish you severely.’ In this way he murmured for a long time.
I bowed my head and listened to everything. What could I have said? As soon as the emperor was silent, I moved away from him and went out of the palace. I did not find peace in the city too. The residents of the city were in mourning of the princess and, considering me to be the cause of her death, they used to rush to kill me where they recognized me. I was compelled to shave my beard, mustache and eyebrows and put on the clothes of mystics to save my life and left from there. Even after coming out of the city, I continued to burn in the fire of repentance and cursed my life, due to which the two-formed princesses died. In this condition, I wandered from country to country for a long time but my whereabouts could not be found.
In the end I thought that I should go to the city of Baghdad and tell the story of my grief to the very merciful Caliph Har Rashid, maybe he will take pity on me and make some proper arrangements for me. I reached this city this evening only. First of all I met this fakir, who has just told his condition. It is not necessary for me to tell you how we came here because he has already told the first fakir.
When the second fakir finished his story, Zubeida told him that we have forgiven you too, you are free to go wherever you want. Now the second fakir also expressed his desire to listen to his third companion’s life story as well. On this Zubeida said, well, you also go to the laborer and the first fakir and sit quietly. He did exactly the same. Zubeida now asked the third fakir to narrate his story and he started speaking sitting in front of Zubeida.